I try to work out every day, ever since I learned the depressing fact that women over 50 need to exercise an hour a day...just to MAINTAIN their weight! To shed pounds, they have to cut way back on their food intake, while still performing that hour of daily exercise. Sheesh! Give me a break already!
Anyway, I usually work out at home, indoors, following a routine on a DVD. But sometimes I like to just go outside and power walk, especially if it's a nice day. Well, yesterday it was mild and breezy and sunny, and I decided that I would walk. I usually do the same route, walking about 3 miles total through a grid of neighborhood streets in a development close to our house. I've gotten bored of that route, though. And I got thinking about our forefathers back in the olden days, and how much walking they did. They didn't need to go to the gym and walk on a treadmill, because they pretty much had to walk everywhere. (Kids might walk 5 miles to school and back, uphill both ways, in a foot of snow--like the parents of Baby Boomers such as myself claim they used to do.) There was a time when people didn't walk through random neighborhoods just for the sake of exercise; they walked with a purpose. They had somewhere they needed to go to get something done. Feeling inspired, I came up with a plan: I'd walk toward town and run an errand that would normally involve a car trip, and then walk back.
I'm not sure exactly how far I walked (approximately 3 miles, I believe), but it took me 45 minutes to get to the drugstore, where I picked up some dark chocolate Easter eggs, an Easter treat for my husband and me (having forgotten to get them when I bought the goodies that I mailed out to my boys on Monday). I know it sounds like I defeated the whole purpose of my long walk by buying two bags of chocolates...but I didn't open them up on the spot--they're for EASTER! And incidentally, haven't you heard that dark chocolate is now considered a health food?
I hadn't had any lunch, so after I bought the chocolates, I stopped in at Subway and had a 6" sub and some baked Lays. (Again, it seems like I was defeating the purpose of my walk...but it was well past lunchtime, and I hadn't eaten yet! So get off my back, will ya?)
After lunch, I did the 45-minute return trip, walking at a brisk pace in my Shape Up-style sneakers. (And no joke, on my route there were stretches--both ways--where I had to walk uphill!) I'm not 100% sure if I believe that those newfangled sneakers really do shape up your lower body; but I will say this: long before I hit the home stretch on my walk, my thighs and backside were incredibly sore. And my toes were getting a bit numb. And all I could think of was my daughter-in-law, who has run three marathons (including the elite Boston Marathon), and wonder HOW IN THE WORLD she survived them!
I will never run a marathon, I'm absolutely sure of that. But I may run more errands on foot in the future. Walking with a purpose, I've decided, is a good way to kill two birds with one stone.